A CHURCH leader is appealing for donations to a community pantry to serve those in need during the pandemic.

The Kempsey Community Pantry supported around 250 homes during the first lockdown in March and continues to support the community a year on.

Rev Mark Badger, rector of Kempsey & Severn Stoke w Croome d’Abitot and newly appointed dean, said: “During the third lockdown, we are more focused, supplying around 50 frozen meals to the elderly who value the support they receive.

“We are certainly seeing an increased uptake of need at the moment as during the first lockdown, people were instructed by the Government not to go out.

“We also send around 20 food parcels each week to Norton C of E Primary School and Kempsey Primary School, to children identified ‘at need’ by the school as well as parcels to families in the village.”

A Worcester foodbank has said it is very much “business as usual” during this third lockdown.

Grahame Lucas, manager of Worcester Foodbank, said: “What makes this difficult is the situation is so unpredictable, making it difficult to plan for.

“But it’s very much business as usual as the measures we’ve put in place at the start of lockdown such as social distancing in the warehouse, has allowed us to continue to support those in need.”

Low income or unstable hours of employment make it impossible for some clients to cover the cost of essentials including food, rent and heating.

Malvern Hills Foodbank is also supporting the community.

Peter Buchanan, chairman of trustees for the Malvern Hills Foodbank, said: "Over the past two years the numbers using our foodbank have more than doubled, but the generosity of supporters has matched this increase.

"Malvern Hills Foodbank will continue to meet the needs of the people in crisis in our society.

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"We recognise that food is not the only essential, so as colder weather approaches, we will also be able to provide fuel top up payments thanks to a government grant passed on to us by Malvern Hills District Council."

Anyone wanting to donate or use the Kempsey Community Pantry can do so by visiting the village hall on Tuesdays between 10.30am and 12.30pm and on Sundays between 3-5pm.